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Planning a Well-Rounded Florida Vacation

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Florida has so much to offer the average traveler that many visitors don’t even realize all that awaits them. Not only does this state have wonderfully warm temperature all year long, but it is filled with amazing opportunities. Whether you are a history buff, thrill seeker, amusement park fanatic, or simply looking to relax, Florida has something for everyone.

Historical Landmarks

                                                             Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Florida is so well-known for fun that people often forget that it is rich in history. Historical sites like the hauntingly intriguing Fort Jefferson are waiting to be explored. You can also take a tour of the Ford and Edison Sites where you’ll get an up-close look at the winter home of two influential inventors. Even the 205 foot Bok Tower is a sight to behold.

Thrilling Adventures

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Only in Florida can one discover so many options when it comes to thrill seeking. The wetlands are the perfect place to ride an airboat amidst the local alligators and snakes in their natural habitat. When you take advantage of programs like Swim with Manatees Citrus County FL becomes a dream come true for anyone wanting to join these magnificent creatures under water.

Theme Park Utopia

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Orlando is home to a variety of exciting theme parks representing all of your favorite characters from Mickey Mouse to Harry Potter. These parks have roller coasters for the adventurer, exotic dining opportunities for the foodie, and a number of shows for those that want some entertainment. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Orlando’s skies are filled with spectacular fireworks displays every night.

Relaxing Shores

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Those looking to simply spend their days soaking up that Florida sunshine can take their pick from a variety of beaches. Sandy shores along the Gulf have some of the most stunning water views you’ll ever find while the Atlantic Coast is the ideal location to watch the sunrise. Along with the more popular Miami and Daytona Beach, you’ll discover several quitter locations.

Now that you know all that awaits you in the state of Florida, your only problem will be trying to decide exactly which activities to try. Chances are that you’ll either have to extend your vacation time or start planning a return trip as soon as you get home.

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Perfectly Picturesque: The Prettiest Destinations For Sightseers

The best thing about travel is being able to see new things. A different part of the world with different types of architecture, terrain and landscape, weather conditions and more. So if you want the type of vacation where you will be taking in the sights rather than just lying on a beach- you won’t be disappointed with any of the following locations.

The Lake District and The Peak District, UK

When most people picture the UK they think of dreary weather and busy London town. However, the UK is also full of amazing, natural beauty. The lake district in located in the north of England, it’s a mountainous region and offers some of the most stunning scenery in the country. From spectacular lakes to forests, rivers and mountains you’re sure to snap some fantastic photos. In the peak district, in central England, you can expect to see limestone valleys and stepping stones with lots of interesting terrain. As well as breathtaking views you can find out more with the various educational programs they run. There are all kinds of trails you can hike with varying levels of difficulty depending on your fitness. There are caverns, a reservoir and lots of historic buildings nearby that you could look into. Both destinations have quaint villages nearby that you could take a walk into and see what English life is all about.

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Noto Peninsula, Japan

If you want to see mountains, hot springs, stunning gardens, dramatic coastlines and gorgeous seaside villages then Noto Peninsula- a peninsula off the main island of Japan is definitely one to consider. If you look into Japan cycling tours you’ll see this is a popular destination as it’s so pretty. Visit in spring or autumn if you want warm, dry weather. The summer is hot and humid, and there’s often snowfall in the winter so it all depends on the kind of trip and weather backdrop you’re after.

The Arctic Region

The Arctic isn’t a country or destination within itself, it’s actually an area made up of parts of Alaska, Sweden, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Russia. The Arctic has varying levels of snow and ice cover throughout  the year, and provides incredible scenery since it’s one of the most unspoiled areas in the world. There are all kinds of wildlife which in the Arctic making it the perfect place to view different animal. Plus snow covered peaks, frozen bodies of water and ice everywhere really does look magical- a great place if you want to see some mind blowing views.

Florida, US

When you think of Florida you might think of Disney, built up areas jammed with tourist attractions. Which might be fun, but don’t really provide a whole lot of scenic viewing. However there’s so much more to the Sunshine State than being the home of Mickey. From stunning sandy coastlines to idyllic gardens in Miami, palm trees and the Florida Keys where you can watch or swim with wild dolphins. With the year round sunny weather it provides a gorgeous backdrop to the beaches, plantlife and rolling hills.

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Our Visit To The IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai

 

Last Dec. 19 was my first visit to the IMG Worlds Dubai Theme Park. My husband has been there a couple of times with his friends except for me and our daughter.

I initially thought it was very far from our place of residence and surprisingly, it wasn’t. Location wise, it is okay because it is not in a remote location. It is situated in the City of Arabia just off the Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road.

IMG Worlds of Adventure is an indoor theme park which is open year-long. It is divided into zones just like any other theme parks out there.

 

Cartoon Network

This zone consists of several rides and attractions such as:

  • The Powerpuff Girls – Mojo Jojo Robot Rampage ride

This looks like a very cute ride for kids but it is perfect for taller kids and adults as it turns you 360 degrees as your carriage flies you through the air.

  • Adventure Time – The Ride of OOO with Finn and Jake

My favorite of all the rides we have tried maybe because I am biased because I love the Adventure Time cartoon show. 🙂 Kidding aside, this is a fun ride for all ages. it is a monorail ride that takes you to the different areas in the Adventure Time show if you are watching it. You will encounter the many characters of the shows as you pass tunnels around the Cartoon Network zone. It is not a very fast ride so even younger kids can ride this one but always check the height restriction before you proceed to fall in queue.

  • Ben 10 5D Hero Time

I watched Ben 10 with my daughter when she was younger but the Ben 10 in this simulator ride is now a younger adult version of Ben 10. Compared to the other sim rides I have taken in other theme parks, I find this attraction a bit “too much” for my senses; hence the 5D. The other rides where just 3D and 4D. This one tops the chart in terms of giving you a thrilling simulated ride. I think it’s an OK ride but maybe the sound can be reduced a little. I just found it to be too loud.

  • The Amazing Ride of Gumball

I am not familiar with this cartoon but the ride is like the Buzz Lightyear in Disney where you zap some characters and earn points while riding a moving car.

  • Lazy Town

There are several rides and attractions in this area. I didn’t venture here as much as I have in the other parts.

  • CN Live Shows

 

There are plenty of pressed coin souvenir crank machines all over the park. be sure to get one (or more)!

Marvel

My husband liked this zone a lot. I definitely understand why after visiting it. It has rides and attractions most Marvel fanatics will truly like and enjoy.

  • Avengers Battle of Ultron
  • The Hulk 3D

This is a 3D motion-seat attraction with a cinematic feel while you watch Hulk and The Avengers battle their foe.

  • Spiderman Doc Ock’s Revenge
  • Thor Thunder Spin

I didn’t ride this because I don’t think I’ll manage due to the spinning movements. I suggest, when you visit, ride this before having lunch or dinner. 🙂

  • Avengers Flight of the Quinjets

You have to eat here! I love how clean the food tastes, not too salty but savory enough to tickle your fancy palate.

Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure

  • Predator

The super loopy rollercoaster ride in this zone is epic! I didn’t ride it because I don’t think I have the guts to but I am pretty sure it is perfect for the thrill-seekers and adrenalin junkies out there who loves a ride that not only has several loops and twists and turns but has a 90 degrees drop. Yes, 90 degrees! No thanks!

  • The Velociraptor

What starts inside the park goes roaring and twirling outside! If this is your type of adrenalin rush, then this ride is for you.

  • Forbidden Territory

This is like a cart on tracks where you go through the Forbidden Territory to see the dinosaurs. It has height restrictions so be sure to check before you fall in queue with your smaller kids.

  • Dino Carousel

This is a good ride for the young, and young at heart. The carousel are made of cute dinosaurs instead of the common horses that you see in ordinary carousels.

  • Adventure Fortress

This is like your jungle-gym but not the typical one because it has towers, ladders to climb, tunnels to go through, and slides. Kids will enjoy this place with an adult supervision. So, if you have kids who have limitless energy, this is their place.

 

IMG Boulevard

Just like most theme parks I have visited in the past, the IMG Boulevard stands at the fore of the entire premise of IMG Worlds of Adventure. From there, you will find shops, coffee shops, and other food kiosks to satisfy your hunger.

  • The Haunted Hotel is also located here.

My husband said it is just okay for those who liked to be scared a bit but not scared-stiff. It is not a ride though. You walk through the hotel and encounter some scary characters in certain areas. Not my kind of attraction since I am a scaredy cat.

Maybe you can handle this type of attraction then experience it for yourself when you visit the park.

  • And the IMG Worlds of Adventure also has a 12-screen multiplex cinema within the premise for the movie fanatics and the entire family.

 

All zones have restaurants, food outlets, and shops where you can buy souvenirs and merchandize of your favorite characters, and heroes!

I like the place because it’s not really huge and there are plenty of places to sit and relax. Aside from that, if you’re not into some extreme rides and flashy/bright lights attractions like me, you can definitely go around the shops or just walk around, have some snacks or just do some nice photo-op against the colorful background.

This is a good place to visit all year long because it is air conditioned. There are plenty of restrooms to freshen up. There are also disability access all over to provide ease and comfort to our family and friends with disability or movement limitations.

Super clean and spacious restrooms are all over the park.

If you need strollers and wheelchairs, you can rent it from the park. They also have lockers if you need to store your hauls or what-nots.

No need to worry about parking space.

Parking area near the entrance of the park

ATMS are available too.

 

*Ticket price:

Park admission: AED245
Junior admission (under 1.2m in height): AED225
Children (under 1.05m in height): Free
Senior Citizens (over age of 60): AED150
Guests with Disabilities:
Above 1.2m in height: AED150
Under 1.2m in height: AED100

Annual Pass:

Park Annual Membership: AED365
Senior Annual Membership: AED270 (for guests 60 years and above)

Season Pass:
Park Season Membership: AED295
Senior Season Membership: AED200 (for guests 60 years and above)

Please check the website for more information before you purchase your ticket. They have a promo right now for the festive season but I am not sure until when it is valid. The price is 195 dirhams for UAE residents only.

 

*Park timings:

Opening hours during the festive season (Dec 21st 2017 to Jan 6th 2018):
Sunday: 11am to 10pm
Monday: 11am to 10pm
Tuesday: 11am to 10pm
Wednesday: 11am to 10pm
Thursday: 11am to 11pm
Friday: 11am to 11pm
Saturday: 11am to 11pm

Opening hours on the other days:
Sunday: 11am to 9pm
Monday: 11am to 9pm
Tuesday: 11am to 9pm
Wednesday: 11am to 9pm
Thursday: 11am to 10pm
Friday: 11am to 10pm
Saturday: 11am to 10pm

Opening hours are subject to change. Closing times indicate the times queues close.

*from the website http://www.imgworlds.com/en/planyourvisit/ticket-bookings/

 

Location:

It is located on E311 (Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road – near Arabian Ranches, next to Global Village), in the heart of Dubai. You can get there by private car, and public transportation. Please check their website for more information on how to get there.

 

So, if you have no plans for the New Year’s holiday or anytime soon, why not visit this park with the whole family for a fun, happy, and thrilling bonding experience.

 

Disclaimer:

All opinions and photos are 100% mine. Please do not copy or use without my written permission.

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Things To Do Deep In The Heart Of Texas

The Southern states in America have such a wide range of culture that it is hard to chose where to go. New Mexico has Spanish colonial architecture with a Hispanic culture. California is mostly associated with Hollywood, but it has roots in the cultures of Spain, Asia, Mexico, and the Eastern United States. But the one state you should really try to visit is the Lone Star State. Texas is a big area – about the size of most of Europe – so you’re better off choosing one city to explore during your visit. Here are a few hot destinations to help you narrow down your choices.

 

Austin

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If you’re a fan of music, Austin is a great place to tick off your bucket list as it’s the live music capital of the world; there are roughly 200 live music venues that you can catch a show at pretty much any day at any time, either at popular venues like the Moody Theatre, or downtown in hole-in-the-wall bars like The Continental Club on South Congress. Austin is also home to the largest urban population of bats in North America, estimated at 1.5 million bats. Each night, from mid-March to November, the bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. Surprisingly, it’s become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas.

 

Mt Pleasant & Titus Country

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See the naturally beautiful side of Texas at Mt Pleasant & Titus Country. The pristine lakes, mountains, and preserved nature trails get visitors away from the hustle and bustle of city life that some have come to associate with Texas. Starting your day at magnificent hotels like the Super 8 Mount Pleasant, you could choose to go down to the lakes and indulge in some fishing, sunbathing, swimming, or hiking, or you could book a visit to Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Here, you can enjoy even more spectacular views, an extensive Tapas menu, and during the late summer you are welcome to join in the fun of harvesting the grapes. Mt Pleasant is also known for its great fresh produce, which you can buy at the local farmer’s market. It’s just the kind of country retreat that the doctor ordered.

 

Houston

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A vibrant culture scene awaits anyone who makes a stop in Houston; not only is it home to the NASA Johnson Space Center, but so many fascinating museums that you probably won’t see anywhere else. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the closest you’ll get to visiting Jurassic Park, especially since when you see features like the Stegosaurus and a gigantic T-Rex in the 30,000-square-foot Hall of Paleontology. Houston also caters to even the most eclectic fashion senses, with clothing stores that specialise in authentic, vintage cowboy boots, as well as stores that feature designer labels like Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Valentino.

All the places in Texas offer a unique experience, so try ticking a few off your bucket list.  

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What To See Around The Pest Side of Budapest

 

It’s been several months since I visited Budapest in Hungary but the beauty of that place still lingers in my mind like it was just yesterday.  I have expected most of Europe to be similar in terms of architecture and design but somehow, I have been taken by Budapest’s beauty.

I have seen various old towns and cities of other European countries. Their beauty varies from one another. Budapest in Hungary is like a gem tucked in the Central part of Europe. Budapest has been cited as one of the beautiful cities in the world and a top travel destination by a famous travel magazine.

Budapest is the combination of 2 cities, the Buda and Pest side. These 2 are separated by several bridges and one of that is the famous Chain Bridge.

If you are visiting Budapest anytime soon, take note of these places when you are in the Pest side.

 

Andrassy Avenue

The Andrassy Avenue is touted as the Champs Elysees of Budapest. Museums, theaters and opera house line up along this grand Avenue. You can also visit the House of Terror which shows the horrors of what Hungary had experienced during the 20th century.

 

Danube Promenade / Danube Bank

The Danube river bank serves as the promenade of many locals and tourists alike. Here, you can find the Memorial of the Shoes. These shoes are bronze replicas of the Jews who were executed by the Arrow Crosses. They were made to remove their shoes by the bank before they were shot, and their bodies fell and drifted along the River Danube. It is a very poignant memorial to honor those who have perished during the ugly face of World War II.

 

Vaci Utca

This is a famous shopping area in Budapest. It is lined with shops and eateries with beautiful, ornate facade. You can stroll here and enjoy the atmosphere or just sit back in one of the coffee shops and people watch.

 

Hungarian National Parliament

©Ria C/riatravelbug.com

Nestled in front of the Danube River, the Hungarian National Parliament is a prominent Neo-Gothic architectural structure in the Pest side of Budapest. It is easy to see this place from various trams plying through the area. Tourists can easily walk to the building from the Chain Bridge and traverse the lovely cobble stone street of Pest.

 

St. Stephen’s Basilica

©Ria C/riatravelbug.com

I was very lucky to have stayed near the Istvan Basilica (St. Stephen’s Basilica) during my vacation in Budapest, Hungary last year. The view from my room was the dome of this beautiful Basilica. Regular mass is still being held in the Basilica. You can also tour the inside of the Basilica for free but take note of the timing as it is not open throughout the day. You can also climb up in the bell tower for a fee for a breath-taking view of Budapest.

The basilica is the largest in the city and can hold around 8,000 plus people. It also houses the relic of St. Stephen’s right hand which is also open for the public to view.

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

 

Széchenyi Baths

This is a huge bath complex in the whole of Europe.  It is relatively cheap to enjoy a good bath in this huge complex that is open until night time.

 

Great Market Hall

This place is located at the end of Szabadsag Bridge. It is also known as the Central Market Hall. It has 3 levels. The market sells a wide variety of goods from the famous paprika spice of Hungary, to the many tasty sausages and salamis, local produce, and other dry goods such as Hungarian embroidery and fabrics, and other arts and crafts. You can also grab some ready to eat food here or sample their local cuisine in the food stalls inside the market.

 

The Chain Bridge

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

The famous beautiful bridge that spans between the Buda and Pest sides of Budapest across the Danube River is called The Chain Bridge. I managed to cross the bridge on foot to reach the Buda side and the view is spectacular! I highly recommend this to visitors in Budapest. There is a pathway on each side of the bridge for pedestrians and bicycle access as well. And once you reach the middle part, take a good look of the beautiful scene in front of you. You get to see Buda and Pest!

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

 

The Great Synagogue

This Synagogue is the largest built in the entire of Europe around 1854-1859 in a Moorish style architecture. Next to it is the Jewish Museum which features their tradition, culture, costumes, and history.

 

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle is located inside the city park near the Széchenyi Baths. It was built during 1896 for the Millennial Exhibition in Hungary, and it also houses the Museum of Agriculture.

 

Let me share this brief video I have taken from the Buda Hill and it shows the marvelous vista of Pest.

Panoramic view of Pest from the Buda Hill

 

There are more to see in the Pest side of Budapest that I haven’t included here. If you have been to Budapest, you can share more places of interest by leaving a comment in this post.

I hope you will consider these places of interest when you plan your vacation to Budapest.

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Your August Travel Guide is Here!

** This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated when you click and make a purchase. Thanks.

 

Still have few weeks of summer to enjoy so if you are one of those who have yet to fulfill their “summer escapades” plan, then this travel guide is for you!

 

 

AUGUST TRAVEL GUIDE

 

Your August travel guide is packed with great deals and travel ideas to inspire you to savor the remaining weeks of summer’s last hooray before we enter the cooler months of September, October and onwards.

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A Vacation Idea When You Know You Deserve A Little More

 

Some people make it a point to be extravagant every time they plan a trip. They stay in the best hotels, visit exotic locations, and seek the rarest forms of recreation. This is an incredible feeling, but most people must put a little extra planning into a trip in order to make it memorable.

Many people do however, arrive a point in their lives where they realize that they need more out of a hard-earned vacation. After all, this is what is at the heart of enjoying a break, an escape, and an adventure. Enjoying a trip more means taking every aspect of hard work out of the equation. Truly memorable trips are just that because of one key thing. There should be no hard work at all!

The reason many people insist on certain luxuries when they travel is to eliminate the sweat factor. Pursuing unique amenities is best enjoyed when a person knows that they have earned something special. Finding something truly special when it comes to travel means going beyond standard fixtures of luxury. It means zero effort in all forms of planning and arranging. It also means luxury that is ultimately private and personal.

If someone wants a truly exceptional and carefree travel experience, they seriously need to consider letting their vacation cares go by hiring a concierge service. This type of service is a bit different than the concierge found at a hotel’s front desk. It is a service that takes custom travel information and designs an experience where the client doesn’t worry about a single thing. All travel, dining, recreation, and festivities are the concern of the service.

Best of all, a concierge travel service allows clients to stay in luxury vacation villas ranging from penthouses to modern mansions. Groceries are stocked, private security is on-site, the pool is prepared, and there could even be a chartered helicopter waiting to go anywhere. The villa is completely private, and the client doesn’t have to lift one finger during the stay.

This is true luxury! It’s not about brands, expenses, and bragging rights. It’s about a person having the satisfaction of knowing that a true vacation reward was earned and experienced. A truly luxurious vacation happens when a concierge team does the work. Consider this option the next time a window opens to take the trip of a lifetime.

 

Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash

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